Bed bugs are horrible. They are unsightly, they leave your bedding a mess with fecal and blood stains, and they cover your body with bites. They also usually remain undetected and can create a huge army in your bed, before you even realize they are there. Bed bug sprays are the fastest method of killing these pests. A common question posed by many people is “what is the best bed bug spray for getting rid of these pests?” Turns out there is not one spray, but several which you can choose, depending on your circumstances.
Table of Contents
10 Best Bed Bug Killer Sprays (2019 Edition)
1. Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Killer: Best Overall
Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Killer is a versatile and multi-purpose means to get rid of bed bugs. The spray kills bed bugs on contact, as well as eggs, making it a perfect choice for spraying into cracks and crevices where bed bugs usually hide. The formula is odorless and non-staining, so you can even spray it on your bed. It also works well for bed bugs that have developed resistance to insecticides, like pyrethroids. You can even spray it inside your suitcase to make sure you do not pick up any pests when you travel.
- Kills pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs
- Controls bed bugs to two weeks
- Goes into crevices to kill bed bugs and eggs
- Non-staining and odorless
- Contains chemicals
- Keep out of reach of children and pets
- May need a lot of spraying around the house to curb an infestation
2. Harris Home Insect Killer: Best Odorless
Harris Home Insect Killer does not just kill bed bugs but several other types of household pests as well, including lice, mosquitoes, roaches, spiders, and silverfish. The formula, which contains deltamethrin, works for weeks after applying it and is odorless, unlike many other bed bugs sprays. It also does not damage the fabric, upholstery and wooden surfaces if sprayed directly on them.
- Kills several varieties of pests
- Registered with EPA
- Safe to use around children and animals
- Residual effects
- Requires prolonged treatments
- Does not seep into cracks effectively
- Some users complain spray gets easily clogged
3. Bedlam Plus: Best for Mattresses
Although there are a lot of bed bug aerosol sprays for mattresses, Bedlam Plus is the best choice. Its water-based formula is safe for spraying on your mattress. It not just kills bed bugs and their eggs but leaves a residual effect for 2 weeks. It is recommended you spray the seams, tufts, and folds with Bedlam Plus.
- Kills eggs too
- Two weeks of killing power
- Not safe for pets and children
- Horrible odor and terrible fumes
- Can irritate the skin on contact
4. Eco-Defense Bed Bug Killer: Best Natural
Eco-Defense Bed Bug Killer uses geranium oil and sodium lauryl sulfate, which means that some of its ingredients are natural. The spray kills bed bugs on contact and is non-staining. Many people with small children and pets prefer to use Eco-Defense Bed Bug Killer as it is safer than wholly-chemical pesticides. The formula works best when it is used with other treatments.
- Children and pet-safe
- Natural products included
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Odorless, though some customers say it has a faint, pleasant smell
- Kills only on contact
- No residual effect
- Works best in conjunction with other bed bug control treatments
5. All Natural Eucoclean Bed Bug, Flea & Dust Mite Killer
This wonderful spray from Eucoclean does not just kill bed bugs but mites, fleas, lice, ticks, moths, and spiders as well. The spray contains natural essential eucalyptus oil that not just cleans your home but leaves it with a pleasant, fresh and cool smell. You can also wipe down your furniture, floor, and toilets with this spray. It also purifies the air and is great for use in your home and office.
- Works on a wide variety of insects
- Deodorizes home
- Purifies the air
- Has a fresh, pine smell
- Safe for pets and children
- May not be effective as wholly-chemical insecticides
- If you need to cover a large area, one can is not enough
6. Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Fogger: Best Fogger
The Hot Shot Bed Bug and Flea Fogger are extremely effective for eradicating a large infestation in an enclosed space. The potent formula not just kills bed bugs, but their larvae and eggs as well. You need to close all the doors, windows and vents of your room and spray the fogger in the space. Its fumes will sink inside the furniture and carpet and effectively kill bug there. One can is effective in a 16 ft x 16 ft room. Reenter the room after 4 hours after the fumes have dissipated.
- Very effective in killing bed bugs and fleas
- Kills larvae and eggs as well
- One fogger comes with three cans
- One can is effective in a 16 ft x 16 ft and 8 ft room
- Toxic fumes
- Dangerous if inhaled
- Contains chemicals
- May have to remove food from the room as it contaminates stuff
7. Wondercide Flea Tick and Mosquito Control Spray: Best Lifecycle Disruptor
The Wondercide spray contains cedar oil which disrupts heart rate, metabolism, and movement in bed bugs and interrupts their lifecycle. This does not just kill the current surviving bed bugs and eggs but prevent future infestations as well. The best part is that it is nontoxic, has aromatherapeutic qualities and a pleasant smell. It can be used everywhere, including yours and your pets’ beds. It contains no harsh odors and does not ruin furniture.
- All-natural and non –toxic
- Interrupts bed bugs lifecycle
- Pleasant smell
- Safe for direct use on pets, including cats and dogs
- May not be as effective as wholly-chemical insecticides
8. Proof 100% Effective Bed Bug and Dust Mite Killer Spray: Best Budget
The proof is approved by the EPA and contains neem oil as a natural ingredient. The company claims that you can use this eco-friendly pesticide anywhere in your home and it will have a residual effect for one to three weeks. However, the spray has an extremely potent odor so homeowners should wear a mask while fumigating. The proof is effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs and is quite cheaper than other options in the market.
- Kills bed bugs
- Eco-friendly and all-natural
- Does not damage furniture
- The smell is highly potent
- Children and pets should not ingest it
- Require repeated applications every few weeks
9. Travel Hygea Natural Exterminator Spray: Best for Travel
Hygea Exterminator Spray contains natural ingredients that cannot just kill bed bugs but other harmful household insects as well, particularly those found in hotels. You can take this spray with you while you are traveling and spray the bed, carpets and any area where you suspect bed bugs may be lurking, without fear of harming your health. It kills bed bugs on contact and does not damage furniture.
- TSA-approved bottle size for carry-on luggage
- Also kills lice and fleas
- Children and pet-safe
- Odorless and leaves no residue
- Does not damage furniture
- Can only be applied to small areas
10. Pest Peeve Bye-Bye Bed Bugs: Best Non-Toxic
The Bye Bye bed bug formula works well for spot applications in a non-toxic, eco-friendly way. The 32-ounce bottle comes with a few different spray patterns so you can use them to get into every nook and cranny. The active ingredient contains cedarwood oil and geranium oil that can be applied to bedding and the inside of your suitcase. It can also be used safely around small children and pets.
- All-natural and non-toxic
- Can be sprayed on bedding and suitcase
- Does not damage furniture
- Can only be applied to small areas
- Some people say the odor is very unpleasant
Ingredients in Bed Bugs Killers
Bed bug killers come in natural and chemical forms and can be used to prevent and treat bed bug infestations:
Natural Contact Sprays: Some green essential oils are partially effective in treating and preventing bed bugs. They include geranium oil, eucalyptus oil, geraniol, clove oil, and cedar oil.
Chemical Killers: The EPA has listed over 300 products that can be used to treat bed bug. Most of these can be used by homeowners, but some should exclusively be handled by trained professionals. Each type of chemical works on bed bugs in a different way, and this can reduce the chances of the bed bugs developing resistance.
- Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids: These days, pyrethrins and pyrethroids remain the most effective insecticides in the fight against bed bugs. These compounds are deadly to bed bugs and can get them out of their hiding and kill them. However, there are some strains of bed bugs that have become desensitized to the effects of pyrethrins and pyrethroids. However, a combination of the two can still be effective against bed bugs.
- Biochemicals: The EPA has registered cold-pressed neem oil as the only biological pesticide that is effective in treating bed bugs. The oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree, an evergreen tree found in Asia and Africa. It has various insecticidal, antibacterial and medicinal properties and is used in toothpaste, shampoos, and Neem oil has been proven to be effective against adult bed bugs, larvae, and eggs.
- Pyrroles: Chlorfenapyr is the only type of pyrrole that is proven to be effective against bed bugs and safe to use. This chemical interrupts the normal functions of a bed bug’s cells, killing it.
- Neonicotinoids: Neonicotinoids are synthetic chemical insecticides, similar to nicotine, that are neutron-active insecticides. Neonicotinoids cause the nicotine receptors in the brain to overstimulate, causing paralysis and death. Bed bugs are still very vulnerable to this chemical.
- Insect Growth Regulators: Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) are chemicals that disrupt the bed bug lifecycle by retarding the growth of eggs and larvae. They mimic juvenile growth hormones and work by either preventing the bed bug’s development into adulthood or altering the production of their exoskeleton. Some growth hormones force the bed bug to develop too rapidly while others stop their development entirely.
- Desiccants: Desiccants work by drying out and destroying the waxy chitin of the bed bug. Once their exoskeleton is split, the bed bugs start to dehydrate and eventually die. Since desiccants offer physical modes of treatment, bed bugs cannot develop a resistance to these chemicals, unlike other chemical insecticides. These desiccants also have a long-lasting effect.
The most common types of desiccants include boric acid and diatomaceous earth. When using desiccants, make sure they are safe and registered by regulatory authorities like the EPA. Some desiccants are food-grade and are used in swimming pool; however, they can be inhaled by people are create serious risks. Hence, their use should be limited to cracks and nooks or humans should evacuate the area for a few days after applying them.
Criteria for Buying A Bed Bug Spray
Contact Versus Residual Sprays
Contact sprays kill bugs, and in some cases, their larvae and eggs as well, upon contact. In contrast, residual sprays kill insects gradually over time; but their effect lasts longer. Regardless of whether you choose to buy contact or residual spray, you need to make sure you are buying the latest chemical formula. That’s because bed bugs are notorious for developing resistance to old chemicals and using sprays containing those will be very ineffective.
For example, pyrethrins and pyrethroids are the oldest compounds used to treat bed bugs. Although these chemicals individually don’t effectively work on some strains of bed bugs, they are effective in combination with some other class of chemicals. Another alternative is that you look for desiccants that can break open the chitin of bed bugs and dehydrate them.
What Specifications To Look For In A Bed Bug Spray
Here is what to look for in a bed bug spray:
Chemical-Free: If you have children and small pets at home, it is a good idea to use all-natural, non-toxic, chemical-free bed bug sprays. Your toddler or your small pet may chew on a piece of bedding that has been recently sprayed, so it is best to buy a formula that contains all-natural ingredients.
Egg-Killing: There are several sprays that work very well while killing bed bugs in their biting stage but remain ineffective against larvae and eggs, posing risks of another infestation. To eliminate this danger, look for pesticides that have Insect Growth Regulators that are very helpful in killing off eggs and larvae of the bed bugs, therefore disrupting their lifecycle.
Disinfectant: Since bed bugs carry other pathogens into your home, look for a pesticide that also works as an antibacterial disinfectant. In addition to eliminating bed bugs, you also want to kill off any bacteria and germs that may have come along with these parasitic critters.
Broad-Range: Although bed bugs spray are meant to target and kill bed bugs, there are also some broad-range products that are effective in killing other household pests like ticks, mites, fleas, cockroaches, silverfish and mosquitoes.
Stain-Free: Since bed bugs can hide in your bed, furniture, clothes, baseboards, and even clothes, you need to find a formula that does not just kill these pests but also does not leave any stains on the surface.
Odor: Most chemical sprays come with a horrible odor. If you are sensitive to smell or have children at home, look for a formula that has a pleasant smell, like that of eucalyptus and neem, or doesn’t have an aroma at all.
What Is the Best Bed Bug Spray?
The answer to this lies in where you would require the usage of bed bug spray.
- Bed Bug Spray for Fabric: Bed bugs can invade your clothes, particularly if they are left strewn about the room, and infect other parts of your house as well. If that’s the case with your home, make sure you buy a bed bug spray that can be used on fabric, including your upholstery as well as bedding and does not damage them.
- Bed Bug Sprays for Mattress: Bed bugs can hide inside your mattress, especially if there are tiny rips in the seams. If you suspect that’s the case, opt for some bed bug killers that can penetrate into the mattress. Look for a formula that can kill strains of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs.
- Bed Bug Spray for Luggage: Do you know that bed bugs often invade your house through your luggage when you are back from traveling. These bed bugs occupy hotel rooms and public transportation and can hitchhike a ride in your backpack. To avoid this, look for a bed bug spray that is sold in a small travel-size bottle so that you can carry it wherever you go and stay protected.
- Bed Bug Spray for Cars: If bed bugs have found their way into your car and are making their new home in your upholstery, you can spray them with formulas that are good for fabrics and mattresses.
- Bed Bug Spray for House: If your home has a large infestation and bed bugs have spread around the house, it is best to use a lethal chemical formula that can spread easily in your house and kill the bed bugs effectively. For this purpose, a bed bug fogger can be very useful or aerosol sprays that can get into tiny nooks and cranny.
- Bed Bug Spray for Pets: Do not spray bed bugs directly on to your pets, although you can spray their bedding with all-natural formulae. If you fear bed bugs have gotten into your pet’s fur, take it to a vet and ask him to recommend a topical medication or a collar that can ward off these pests.
- Bed Bug Sprays for Skin: Just because a bed bug spray is non-toxic and all-natural, it doesn’t mean that you can spray it onto your skin. Obviously chemical, toxic insecticides are a definite no-no when it comes to skin contact; however, even natural products can cause irritation, inflammation, and allergies in human, if you spray them on.
User Guide: How to Use Bed Bug Sprays
The success of your bed bug treatment depends on how and where you apply it. Bed bug sprays come in different forms such as liquid sprays, which are contact sprays and kill bed bugs immediately upon contact; residual aerosol spray: which kill bed bugs slowly over time and have a longer preventive effect; concentrated spray: which need to be diluted in water and sprayed to cover a large area.
Below, you can find out how best to apply these bed bug sprays:
If you choose a liquid contact spray, you need to:
- Shake the bottle well to trigger the chemicals inside
- Spray the formula evenly into cracks, crevices, bed seams, headboards, baseboards, corners of the rooms and even the floorboards.
- Keep spraying until the suspected area is covered in an even layer of insecticide.
- Don’t touch the wet solution and leave the room to let it dry.
- Contact sprays can be applied to sofas, upholstery, bedding and wooden surfaces.
In case you have chosen an aerosol spray, you need to:
- Shake the bottle thoroughly before using it.
- Hold the nozzle and spray into cracks and crevices, especially those areas which are hard to reach. The pressure of the aerosol can force the insecticide deep into spaces where other types of sprays can’t go.
- Some aerosol sprays are stain-free, but there are others that cannot be used on beddings, upholstery, clothes and wooden surface. You can check the instruction label to see where you can use the spray.
If you choose concentrated spray, you need to:
- Prepare the mixture in the proportions written on the instructions manual.
- You can take an empty spray bottle, fill it with a portion of the insecticide, dilute it with water and shake the mixture to form a spray-able solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are bed bug sprays 100% effective?
A: The reality is that bed bugs are so resilient, it is unlikely a single method or bed bug spray alone can completely get rid of a large infestation. You will need to use several methods involving monitoring, prevention and using a combination of natural and chemical insecticides. Scientists recommend not relying on one single bed bug killer or insect growth regulator but to use them in conjunction with bed bug interceptors, liquid insecticides, bed bug killing dust, and desiccants.
Q: Do natural bed bug sprays work well in killing bed bugs on contact?
A: Yes, natural bed bug sprays, particularly those infused with neem oil, cedar, and Geraniol, can effectively kill bed bugs. However, their effect does not last long once the solution is dry. It has also been observed that bed bugs avoid going into areas which have been treated with oil-based products, further reducing chances of exposure.
Q: Are bed bug sprays more effective than other pest control treatments?
A: The answer is not simple. It has been proven that bed bugs have developed resistance to some common pesticides used in bed bug sprays and foggers. Also, these pests can easily burrow down and hide into tiny crevices and cracks where the fumes cannot reach them. Household preventive methods like vacuuming have also shown limited effectiveness as a vacuum can suck up a lot of biting adults but cannot get rid of many eggs hiding deep. Therefore, all bed bug control methods have a few limitations.
Q: Why are chemical insecticides more effective than natural sprays?
A: Generally, natural products lose their effectiveness as soon as they dry up. Chemical pesticides, however, have a residual effect and some potent chemicals can prevent re-infestation for even up to a year. However, if the bed bugs need to die, they need to remain in the boundaries of the treated area. To this end, some chemical insecticides also form a barrier that bed bugs cannot cross and trap them inside the treated area. For best results, several repeat treatments each year are necessary.
In a Nutshell…
Bed bugs sprays are quite effective if you use them according to instructions and repeat them after every few weeks. It is also a good idea to pair them up with other bed bug control options. Although the task of eliminating bed bugs is daunting, you can be free of these parasitic pests if you follow some of the instructions above.